4 years ago

iOnRoad - Using augmented reality for safer driving


For the past few years, apps for safer driving have been popping up all over the place -- all seeking to keep you safe on the road but when you think of augmented reality, that's not likely something you relate to safer driving. iOnRoad is looking to change that with their beta application released a few days ago:

iOnRoad improves driving in real-time using the power of advanced smartphones. The app uses the smartphone’s native camera and sensors to detect vehicles in front of the vehicle, alerting  drivers when they are in danger. iOnRoad’s VisualRadar™, maps objects in front of the driver in realtime, calculating the user’s current speed using native sensors. As the vehicle approaches danger, an audio-visual warning pops up to warn the driver of a possible collision, allowing them to brake in time. The app can be used in “background mode,” allowing users to use the navigation app or take phone calls, while still remaining safe on the road.

iOnRoad has some great features baked into the app as well. Notification narration, road snapshots, so you have a record of bad drivers when you spot them or if you need to refer to them later. Plus, it learns from your driving habits which, can be viewed on your personal web dashboard. The app is available in the Android Market right now, in beta status and you can head on over to the iOnRoad website for more details. Download and some images past the break.

Source: iOnRoad

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4 years ago

Android App Review: HDR Camera+


HDR is all the rage these days. Doing whatever it takes to get the true intensity of colors in a photo makes a lot of sense, as it can really add to the drama and beauty of photos you've taken.You can do this on a computer, and you can also do it on your phone.

HDR Camera+ takes a series of pictures in rapid succession (five or so), fuses them together, and then increases the range of colors in one single, high- resolution picture.

There's a built-in image stabilizer, so you don't need to try and keep your hand unflinchingly steady while all of the pictures are taken. In fact, the only time I saw a blurry picture was when I dramatically swung the camera around after I'd started the process, which speaks volumes about how strong the stabilization and merging processes are. And as always, lighting will play a key factor.

There's also a settings menu where you're able to change things like the color vividness, local contrast, micro contrast, exposure, and noise reduction, so you can tweak your newly HDR'd photos to your liking, before you've taken a single shot.

HDR Camera+ does cost a premium price of $3.99, but for the ability to take high quality HDR pictures all from your phone, that's a small price to pay.

We've got more examples of some HDR shots and download links after the break.

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4 years ago

Motorola Droid Razr in Verizon stores at 11:11 a.m. Nov. 11?


We know the Motorola Droid RAZR is scheduled to ship by Nov. 10 -- that's officially official. But whwat we haven't had is an in-store date. Looks like that's going to be Nov. 11, and Verizon's getting cute with an 11:11 a.m. release. Let's hope that's just a little gimmick you don't actually have to wait an extra couple of hours after the store opens, but stranger thanks have happened. (Updated with one more pic.)

Update 2: Now we're hearing there's a pretty good chance you'll be able to walk in and pick one up Nov. 10 as well. Worth a shot.

Thanks, anon!
More in the Droid RAZR forums

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Nexus gets rooted


Got your shiny new Samsung Galaxy Nexus yet? Nope, didn't think so. But when you do, you'll be pleased to hear that MoDaCo's Paul O'Brien has already got a root solution ready and waiting for you. Paul's "Superboot" program installs a specialized boot image to the Galaxy Nexus, which automatically roots it at startup, meaning you don't have to worry about mucking around with your paritions to gain full control over your phone.

So if you're a Google engineer, a carrier tester or a visitor from around fourteen days in the future, then be sure to hit up the source link for further instructions.

Source: MoDaCo

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4 years ago

Motorola Xoom 2, Xoom 2 Media Edition get priced in the UK


Hot on the heels of Motorola's Xoom 2 announcement this morning, UK retailer Clove has given us the first details of the British pricing for both of Moto's new Android tablets. The 10.1-inch Motorola Xoom 2 will sell for £390.00, while the 8.2-inch Xoom 2 Media Edition will £358.80. Both prices include VAT at 20%.

Do a little currency conversion and these prices may seem a little steep in US dollars, at $624 and $574 respectively. However it's important to remember that US prices are almost always cheaper when it comes to consumer electronics. We'd be surprised to see either of these sell for much more than $400 in the US.

Clove also confirms what many suspected -- the 1.2 GHz CPU powering both new Xooms is indeed a TI OMAP4 chip similar to what you might find inside a Galaxy Nexus or Droid Razr.

Motorola Xoom 2 specs | Motorola Xoom 2 gallery | Motorola Xoom 2 forums

Source: Clove Blog; via: Eurodroid

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4 years ago

Galaxy Nexus set for Verizon on Nov. 17 as well?


We're still firmly filing this one in the "unconfirmed" category, but the screen you see above supposedly is a "work in progress" of what's about to go out to Verizon stores. And it pretty much looks like we could be looking at a Nov. 17 availability (and Nov. 15 in-store marketing) for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which would bring Big Red in line with the rest of the world.

We're going to remain a bit dubious until we get word from Verizon itself, and our source says it's "been told the document pictured is a work in progress that will be sent out next week to all retail stores/partners along with promotional materials such as posters and flyers." So we'll see if the document is the work in progress, or the date, or what. And it's always possible this is just a friend of a friend messing with people (hey, it happens). But it does make more sense than waiting past the Black Friday holiday, don't it?

Thanks, anon!
More in the Galaxy Nexus Forums

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4 years ago

FIFA 12 Xperia Play teaser trailer


EA's leading soccer football title FIFA 12 is among the wealth of Xperia Play exclusives (on Android, at least) being offered towards the end of the year, and to whet gamers' appetites, EA and Sony Ericsson have released a new teaser trailer.

Both publisher and manufacturer are keen to show off FIFA's Xperia Play-optimized graphics and controls, so if you want to see both in action, join us after the jump to check out the new trailer. There's no official release date just yet, but we think a holiday launch window is fairly likely.

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4 years ago

Android App Review: SVOX Classic TTS Engine


YouTube link for mobile viewing

I might not think Siri is all that and a bag of chips, but I've got to hand it to Apple for one thing: it sounds good. Listening to the articulate, smooth-talking Siri, I couldn't help but think how archaic Android's own text-to-speech sounded. Compare Android's voice to Siri and you're left with the inevitable comparison to the Speak and Spell.

During one of my stints in the Android Central podcast chat, a reader suggested I give the SVOX Classic TTS Engine a shot, and boy, am I glad I did. Now the text-to-speech on Android is more than tolerable, and that's saying something.

When you install SVOX, you can't really do much in terms of text-to-speech. What you can do, however, is browse more than 25 languages, and once you've chosen a language, see the available voice packs for that language. Languages are sorted by a country's flag at the top of the screen, and you can move from flag-to-flag by swiping left and right.

Once you've decided on your language, you'll see the available language packs for that language. They're all given a human name, which is helpful to give you an idea of gender, at the very least. US English has five voices to choose from, although three seem to be more "for fun" and less "for actual use."

If you tap on any voice, you can listen to a sample of the voice, go straight to the Market to buy the voice pack, or get a free trial of the voice. The free trial lasts two weeks, so there's plenty of time to get acquainted with a voice before you pull the trigger and buy it.

Once you've purchased a voice, it'll show up in your app drawer as a separate app. Opening this app gives you controls over that particular voice, so you can set things like the device volume, text-to-speech volume, speed, and pitch.

More importantly, though, is the text field where you can listen to the voice say particular phrases. You can save phrases (maybe to show to friends later) and you can also share the voice through a variety of methods as well as force different pronounciations on things.

The last tidbit is probably one of the coolest features in SVOX, and if you spell something out phonetically in one voice, it shows up in all of the other voices, too. So if you've got a difficult-to-pronounce name (like my last name, apparently), you can try and find the best way to phonetically spell out the name or word you're thinking of, and SVOX will default to that pronounciation over it's standard way. Nifty.

Lastly, once you've got SVOX (and a voice pack) installed, you'll want to set it as the default TTS engine. This can be accomplished by venturing into your settings menu, poking around in Voice input and output, hitting Text-to-speech settings, and selecting SVOX Classic TTS from the Default Engine menu. Do that and voila, you've just brought your phone's text-to-speech up to 11.

The only downside of SVOX's voice packs is that they're $2.99 a piece, but once you get used to hearing a voice that more closely resembles that of a human, you won't want to go back to anything else. SVOX itself is free, and hey, at least you can demo any of the voices for a full two weeks!

We've got more screenshots of the app and download links to SVOX, Grace, and Michael after the break.

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4 years ago

Google Offers app now on Android; we go hands on!


Google has released an official app for Google Offers, their location-based deal service. With the app, you can view, purchase and redeem deals right from your Android device.

When you open the app, you'll be shown the Featured deals of the day that are nearest to you, which is based on your GPS data. You can also slide to the right to access any offers you have purchased in the past. If you want to subscribe to other offers in other cities, simply go into the settings -> subscriptions and then select the area you wish to subscribe to.

There is a shortcut in the top right of the app to a barcode scanner in case you see a QR code that you wish to scan.

The biggest drawback is that while it's expanded to a slew of new cities, it's still fairly limited. To find out if you're city is included, visit the official Google Offers website.

Google Offers is available for free in the Android Market. We've got download links and our video walkthrough after the break.

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4 years ago

Motorola announces Xoom 2 and Xoom 2 Media Edition, coming to UK and Ireland 'mid-November'


We've seen the leaks and rumors, and now the Motorola Xoom 2 and Xoom 2 Media Edition are both officially official. The 10.1-inch Xoom 2 and its 8.2-inch media-focused sibling will go on sale in the UK and Ireland from mid-November, at retailers including the Carphone Warehouse, PC World and Dixons.

As far as specs go, it's pretty much what we expected -- both tablets feature some variety of 1.2 GHz dual-core CPU, alongside 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. Both flavors also ship with "HD" displays, which we're guessing will be your standard, Honeycomb-friendly 1280x800 panels. Speaking of Honeycomb, you've got Android 3.2 on-board, along with what looks like some minor UI tweaks from Motorola. So no Ice Cream Sandwich just yet, but then that's to be expected.

The tablets also sport the unique curved style edges that we'd seen in leaked photos, as well as phones like the Photon, and we're interested to see how this design choice works on a larger device. Weight-wise, the Xoom 2 sits at 599g, just four grams heavier than Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1, and two grams lighter than the iPad 2. The Media Edition, however, is significantly lighter, at 386 grams.

Moto's yet to mention any pricing information for the Xoom 2 series, nor when (or even if) it plans to release its two new tablets in the US. We'll keep you posted if we hear anything. In the meantime, hit the jump for today's announcement video, or use one of the links below to take a closer look at both Xoom 2 models.

Motorola Xoom 2 specs | Motorola Xoom 2 gallery | Motorola Xoom 2 forums

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4 years ago

Motorola Xoom 2 specs


Motorola's official specs for the Motorola Xoom 2 and Xoom 2 Media Edition.

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4 years ago

Motorola Xoom 2 image gallery

4 years ago

Swype-style gesture input arriving in latest Xperia software update


Sony Ericsson has a little surprise waiting inside the latest software update for its 2011 Xperia series -- a Swype-style "gesture input" system baked into the Xperia keyboard. After enabling the new option it in the keyboard settings, you'll be able to type words by tracing a path through their letters, just like Swype or HTC's Trace keyboard.

All this goodness comes pre-loaded on the Xperia Arc S, which ships with SE's latest software, based on Android 2.3.4. But if you have an Xperia smartphone belonging to the manufacturer's 2011 line-up, you'll be able to get your hands on the new software through an over-the-air update, or manually via the PC Companion suite.

Join us after the jump for SE's gesture input video demo.

Source: Sony Ericsson Product Blog

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4 years ago

Apple loses design lawsuit against NT-K (Spain) and is being countersued for damages


image credit schmidling.com

The Spanish courts have decided against Apple, Inc. in its design patent dispute with NT-K, a small tablet manufacturer in Spain.  Using the same arguments that have been partially upheld in Germany, and dismissed in the Netherlands, Apple brought an import ban and subsequent lawsuit against the small OEM, had their company placed in a European list of "pirated electronics" and even went as far as pursuing criminal charges -- all over rounded corners and a similar look and feel.  NT-K decided they weren't going to take this sitting down, and aggressively fought back, -- finding victory in the courtroom.

While we consider the arrogance of filing criminal charges and mumble under our breath, we can also feel a tiny bit of justice ourselves -- NT-K has filed a suit for monetary damages, lost profits, and "moral damages," and is in the process of filing anti-trust proceedings against Apple alleging abusive anti competitive behavior.  I loathe lawsuits between tech companies, because in the end the consumers are the biggest losers.  In this case however, I hope NT-K wins their suit, only to teach Apple an expensive lesson (that they hopefully wont pass the costs of to their customers).  And if the Spanish courts find that Apple does violate antitrust laws, I hope other countries take a close look. 

There's nothing wrong with an iPad.  A good friend of mine just got himself one, and he agrees that other than the drag of iTunes, they make a great product.  There's a good reason why so many people buy an iPad.  But the way to keep their 100 percent market saturation was to innovate, not stifle competition.  I hope this hits home and they reconsider, but I'm doubtful. 

Source: NT-K (Spanish); via FOSS patents

Thanks, BBPandy!

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4 years ago

Optimus 3D Gingerbread update set to bring faster HSPA+, video enhancements


LG Optimus 3D owners are on track for few extra treats along with their Gingerbread update later this month, if an early leaked firmware build is any indication. The leaked build, which recently cropped up on XDA, is based on Android 2.3.5, and comes with enhancements like 2D and 3D video editing, 3D to 2D conversion and higher bit-rates for 3D videos. There's also the promise of faster HSPA+ cellular data on supporting units, with speeds of up to 21Mbps.

Don't get too excited about trying this on your Optimus 3D just yet though, as the firmware is pretty severely broken in its present form. Once you've channeled the black magic necessary to get it installed, you'll still likely run into issues getting cellular data and Wifi to work.

So it's a little unstable, as you'd expect from an unofficial, pre-release build. We were impressed with the software's general responsiveness though, which seemed markedly improved from earlier Froyo-based efforts. Hopefully we'll see all this good stuff carried over into the official build.

Hit the jump for a few more screenshots. The official Optimus 3D Gingerbread update is due to arrive from Nov. 21.

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